20 October 2006

Bevo is dead

I think luck is not on Texas' side this year. I heard that their beloved longhorn mascot died a few weeks ago... that has to lay an ominous tone on their season!

If this game were played on paper, Texas would win. But not for the reasons you may be thinking. I checked out our stats and was shocked at what I found. I lined up the stats accordingly.

When the Husker Offense is on the field, we bring the #1 ranked Rushing and #4 ranked passing offense in the Big XII. Texas will defend with their #1 rushing and #7 passing defense. Huskers are #1 in Total offense, Texas is #1 in total defense.

When the UT Offense is on the field, they bring the #4 rushing and #10 passing offense in the Big XII. The Huskers defend with their #4 rushing and #9 passing defense. Huskers are #7 in total defense, Texas #7 in total offense.

Is there a better match-up in the Big XII? Our teams match up nearly perfectly!

The reason they win on paper and the biggest discrepancy between the two teams are in Special Teams. On average the Huskers rank 6Th and Texas ranks 2ND in the Big XII. Texas could win the game on special teams! T.O. was known to say that special teams will swing the game... field position, primarily, is what your special teams do for you.

As we all understand (unless we have a severe problem with reality) is that this game is not played on paper and stats can only tell you so much of the story. Nebraska and Texas both are 6-1 overall and 3-0 in conference games. Identical. Nebraska lost to USC and Texas lost to Ohio State -- the #1 and #2 teams in the BCS poll. Eerily similar.

Well, Nebraska played Nicholls State (56-7), you say! But, don't forget Texas played Sam Houston State (56-3)! The only common opponent we have is Iowa State. When Nebraska played ISU the score was 28-14. The Texas score: 37-14. Total plays, total yards gained/allowed... it's all comparable.

Here's my prediction. Texas has the #2 ranked rushing defense nationally although they haven't played a really good running team (Huskers nat'l rank #11). The best was Oklahoma where they were up against Adrian Peterson -- they held them to 124 rushing yards. I'm not sure I'd claim that the Huskers are a really good running team, but we do have some weapons in the form of running backs. If the coaches can get the right running back in the game for the right play (no guarantee), then we may avoid having to pass the ball to win the game. I suspect the defensive goal of Texas is to make the Huskers as single-dimensional as possible and force us to make passes.

Can they stop our passing? The highest ranked passing team they've faced is Baylor (#10) and they gained 320 yards passing against Texas. We're ranked #28. I don't see us gaining over 300 yards in passing against UT, but Taylor has been passing well and if the receivers over-come their coaching and actually catch a ball when it hits their hands, then we should be OK in the passing game. But if we do not gain yards rushing, then katy bar the door, it'll be a long, long day for the 'skers.

Will we be able to stop their offense? They're in the middle of the pack for passing and pretty decent in their rushing game. Our pass defense is, frankly, terrible. Again, this goes back to us being able to run the ball; if we can keep our defense off the field and win in the Time of Possession column, then we may be able to hold our own. Rushing we tend to defend pretty well; even though they're ranked 20Th in rushing defense, they gain less than 200 yards rushing per game. They definitely prefer passing.

The variables not on paper that could play a role is the weather; it will be wet and cold. Which will effect both teams equally, but could cause more problems for a team who needs to pass the ball in order to win. The fact that we're at home would normally mean we have an advantage, but Calahan's teams don't seem to play any better at home than they do away, so the field has to be even here... if not a lean toward Texas who won't be intimidated.

I predict this game will be extremely painful to watch. The first half will keep us pretty even, I think, we may even be leading at halftime. But our 3RD quarter performance this year has been -- what's worse than terrible?

I don't think we will win this game, but I think at times we will play like we deserve to. I think special teams will play a huge role as will time of possesion. If we don't win in both these categories we can't win. If we play our best ball, meaning we are able to run the ball, set up the pass and complete the passes, don't turn over the ball, and win the field position game, and play well every quarter of the game, then we should win. But I've seen no evidence this year that we can do that.

we'll see. Go Huskers!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent analysis...ESPN needs you!